The Key to Producing Efficient, Yet Quality Work

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So, let’s start with one of the larger misconceptions in business—or really, in anything in life. It’s something we get feedback on as a publication from time to time, albeit mostly through social media posts from people who likely never read past the headline or introduction of a story.

Here’s the issue: People think of “fast” as a bad thing.

By that, I mean that when people talk about speed and improving throughput, there’s usually an instant pushback from folks who associate “speed” with “rushing.” To go fast, means you must be missing things, right? I mean, slow and steady wins the race; the tortoise and the hair—the rabbit missed the turn, or something, right?

All of you reading this are in an industry where your work has a direct impact on the safety of the customers you serve. Mistakes aren’t an option. Quality needs to be kept to the highest standard. Customers need to be safe.

Because of that, “speed” is scary.

In our cover feature (“Ultimate Throughput,” p. XX), Dave Luehr hits on this concept a bit in the opening paragraphs. I won’t give it all away, but Dave’s point is that speed does not mean hurrying or rushing. It does not mean cutting corners or taking shortcuts. He actually means the exact opposite. When Dave, and many others, speak of speed in an operational sense, they’re talking about the speeding up of an overall process based on reducing waste and improving throughput. That only comes about by doing all the little things right the first time, perfecting those processes that allow for a safe repair every time.

Easier said than done, but that’s what we’re all working toward, whether it’s in fixing vehicles or publishing magazines. Granted, my line of work has far smaller ramifications that come with any error. But I can guarantee that when a mistake does make its way into print, it’s not due to carelessness, or a lack of quality control, or because everyone needs to slow down. It’s almost always because the process wasn’t followed, and, more often than not, it was some tiny part of the process that might have seemed inconsequential. And, like you, we focus on our operation the same way: eliminate waste, reduce errors, shore up processes, and find efficiencies that can help us do more at a greater speed. Ultimately, that mindset of continuous improvement is how efficiency is gained. The more you can improve, the faster you can complete tasks. You have to work smarter to work faster.

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